The famous sci-fi writer, and author of the book I, Robot, (namesake of the company as well) would be proud of the FDA's recent approval of the "RP-Vita", a remote-presence robot for use in healthcare settings.
RP-Vita is designed to allow supervising physicians to remotely monitor healthcare delivery in settings like ICUs or emergency rooms, where the physician would have to otherwise be running back-and-forth between patients. The device makes patient data available via wi-fi that the physician can access through an iPad or similar device. Although some may be understandably pensive about reducing the personal patient-physician relationship to a face on a computer screen, RP-Vita this marks an important step forward in healthcare delivery.
Many tasks routinely performed by specialists can be handled just as well by nurses and nurse practitioners with a physician supervising. Devices like the Vita can free physicians to do what they do best - diagnose based on all available patient information (remember, it's relayed to them electronically via wi-fi), while other healthcare professionals handle the delivery of care under the physician's watchful eye. And this can be accomplished from a few feet away to hundreds of miles away (battlefield medics or remote military outposts, for instance, might be able to deploy a military version with a satellite links to communicate with physicians at large military hospitals like Walter Read).
From a policy perspective, the approval of RP-Vita shows that technology is beginning to affect how health care is delivered, extending the reach of high quality care and (hopefully) lowering the cost along the way. Eventually, you might even have a virtual supercomputer generated physician diagnosing you at home, with human follow up later. Paging Dr. Watson...